Cinematography Tamil Movies

Thuppakki and its frames – Why it is a classic in Action Thriller genre

8 years before on this day, Nov 13th, I watched Thuppakki on its first day. Since then I have not seen a better superstar mass action entertainer movie in any language in India. Thuppakki was a classic in action thriller genre. A look through some of its great frames on its 8th anniversary and what makes it a really special movie.

Though Vijay was always known for his stunt skills and expertise in action genre, it was Thuppakki where he upped the game in this area. The entire action scenes in this movie are terrific and still very few South Indian Stars are as good as Vijay in stunts
Vijay also upped his style game in Thuppakki. For someone who was mostly known for rural based movies, he surprisingly adapted well to the urban thriller genre . The role of an intelligence officer in Indian Army suited him perfectly. Helping him great deal throughout the movie is Harris Jayaraj’s absolutely sensational background score, alone for which you could repeatedly watch many scenes.
Thuppakki was about all departments of the movie falling in place well together. It had to be Santhosh Sivan to capture the shots of Mumbai this beautifully. The low light cinematography is so beautifully done in Thuppakki.
12 men shootout scene in Thuppakki
A.R Murugadoss’s writing was unusally clever than what you usually see in Tamil Superstar movies. The idea Jagadish(Vijay) employs to follow 12 terrorists and nail them down at the same time is the kind of things that makes movie watching great
And right before the scene where Jagadish and his 11 friends fire the shots, you have this stylish frames which explains why the movie was titled “Thuppakki” too. And thanks to Harris Jayaraj like I mentioned before, you can even hear this frame.
I am waiting interval scene in Thuppakki
And at the interval block, ” I am waiting” became a thing in Tamil Cinema.
Another smart aspect of A.R Murugadoss’s writing was to create a clever villain which was again something unusual for Tamil Superstar movies. Except for the climax, where he seems to have a brainfade, this sleeper cell leader (Vidyut Jamwal) was few steps ahead of Jagadish at every point in the movie. The sequence where he looks at costume of the men , guess it could be a wedding at a church and then even finds a way to find the exact 12 men who killed his people was good “cat and mouse game” to watch

This is another smart frame where you look over the face of the villain to create the scary impact
Another fine frame where Santhosh Sivan pauses to capture that it is Mumbai where things are unfolding in the movie. This is when Vijay knows Vidyut is upto something, but not what exactly !
Thuppakki smoke scene
And this ladies and gentlemen is how you write, stage and execute a huge mass moment in an action thriller. The entire build up to this moment is what makes this an iconic frame. Vijay manages to get one step ahead of Vidyut, lets his sister be kidnapped and then uses their dog to find the place. When the villains recognize that Vijay’s sister in sister is there among the girls kidnapped, Vidyut realizes it is Vijay’s plan and warns his men to get out from there quick. Then you hear the dog’s voice, the men look towards that side, there is silence and then Vijay comes out of the smoke.
Didn’t I say the lowlight is used so effectively in the movie before. This is another fine frame before Jagadish decides to sacrifice his life to get rid of the terrorists and then look at his family photos for one last time.
Thuppakki was also technically very superior. This movie could go for another 10-15 years and still look fresh. The explosion scenes as seen in these frames were particularly well done.

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